Abstain from Fleshly Lusts

Abstain from Fleshly Lusts

Peter said, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11). The “fleshly lusts” which Peter spoke of are sinful passions and desires that direct our attention away from obeying the Lord’s will. Peter said that these lusts are continually waging war against us and, therefore, we must fight back. But how?

1. Be spiritually minded. Romans 8:6 says, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” What does it mean to be spiritually minded? The spiritually minded person “minds the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5). That is, they bring their thinking in line with the Spirit’s revelation, and submit themselves to it (Rom. 8:7). As we fill our minds with the will of God, our thoughts and actions are transformed (Rom. 12:2) into that which glorifies Him. A spiritually minded person, then, puts their emphasis on the things of God, not the things of the flesh.

2. Produce good fruit. The 9 characteristics mentioned in Galatians 5:22 constitute a portrait of Christian character which the Spirit produces in the lives of God’s children. As we fill our minds with the will of God (cf. Rom. 8:5-7), the Spirit uses the Word to develop this fruit in our lives. Think of the seed principle. If we plant seeds of carnality, then carnal produce will be the result. But if we plant seeds of spirituality (cf. Luke 8:11), then spiritual produce will be the result. Note how the principle is illustrated by the blessed man in Psalm 1.

3. Remove sinful influences. What good would come for one seeking to “perfect holiness” (2 Cor. 7:1) to be constantly exposed to things that are unholy? These things do not go together. That is why Paul asked, “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?… (2 Cor. 6:14-16). If we desire to overcome fleshly lusts, then we cannot immerse ourselves in them. We must identify areas of temptation in our lives and remove them (Matt. 5:29-30).

May God bless us as we wage the war against sin!